Monday, August 29, 2011

Design Wall Monday and a Finish

First, the finish.
The masterpiece is done! The backing is just tan fleece, and I just rolled it over to the front to bind it. I machine tied it (read: used the button stitch) in every block and in a few other strategic places (like the corners of the shirt). It's HEAVY, but it's done! Next up for this family is two queen-sized quilts made from the rest of the uniform materials, for her sons. Depending on what I have left from that, I may have an extra surprise up my sleeve...but no spoilers yet.

I also whipped up this top this weekend:
 It's going to be a Christmas present, so I'm not doing anything more with it for a bit. It was such a quick and easy project though, I just wanted something "bubble gum" to do for a few hours. I'll do something more exciting for the quilting part of it, promise. :-)
 I also got the focus pieces cut for the Civil War quilt. I'm still toying around with ideas on how to get them all into the same quilt without requiring applique, but I haven't quite come to an adequate solution yet. I'll keep you posted.
 Finally, I got out and took a few "good" pictures of the ARL donation quilt.
 How artsy am I, huh? Ha.
Pay no attention to that computer tower...or the fact that I had to strategically angle the shot to crop out the boxes full of junk on the porch. Next time I'll haul the chair out into the yard maybe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So I've started working on the embroidery part of the military quilt (taught myself, TYVM) and I have to's actually really humbling. Doing this by hand is sort of forcing me to really think about what the words mean, and what they meant to the family involved. The one I'm working on right now says

"Short Tour"
Nov 2009 - Nov 2010

I can just picture the soldier's wife getting a phone call every few weeks telling her that they'd be in the field...just a few more weeks. I don't know that that's what happened, but it's what I'm picturing anyway.

 I rearranged the blocks a bit so now BDU material surrounds where the blouse will go.
 Hand embroidered FTW.
 Didn't wash away the marker, oops.
 Looks impressive, huh?
 First block. Not as pretty, but ok.
It's getting there.

In other news, I've cut out all the pieces for the Civil War quilt and am kind of a little considering bringing them to work so I can lay it all out on one of the big conference tables. Would that be crossing some kind of line do you think? :-D

This weekend we're supposed to get some silly hurricane heading our way, so it looks like I'll be spending a lot of time indoors...oh darn! :-)

And also, to everyone who thinks I have superhuman wanna know my secret?

I don't have kids. :-) 

I manage my time well and I don't have kids. My time is my time, and I LOVE that. I'm living it up until the inevitable happens and the future grandmothers in my family win out. For now, I don't spend my day chasing a knee-high around, so while it may sound superhuman, it's not. It's just lack of offspring.

What are you working on?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Accidental FNSI and Design Wall Monday!

Finally, I'm back!

This weekend I ended up having a bunch of time to work on stuff in "the lab", so I got a TON done. I had a finish:

 This one is puppy-themed, and is a donation quilt for the Animal Rescue League of NH's silent auction fund raiser in September.
 If you want to donate to the rescue league, our team page is here.
This guy will thank you for donating. :-D

After I finished that (literally, seconds after I finished the final stitch on the label), my best customer showed up with some Civil War themed fabrics to make a quilt for her dad's birthday at the end of September. I don't have pictures of that (grr), but it'll be up on the design wall as soon as this next one is down (hopefully by the end of the week, but we'll see).

Some of the fabrics include these:

The two general pictures are going to be the feature fabrics, and the flags and maps will fill in the spaces until the edges. Terrible description, cool project. There will be more pictures, promise.

After Jen left, I started cutting up pieces of military uniforms to create this:

This is a promotion quilt for a soldier who's being promoted in December. The post it notes mark where patches and/or embroidery are going to go. The only change I need to make is around the shirt - I'm going to make all the squares touching the blouse be BDU (green) material so it stands out more. The arms also need to be folded differently, to lay better. I'm waiting on 2 more sets of stripes, then I'll be able to start putting blocks together. Until then, I'll be embroidering stuff and stitching on patches.

I got mad embroidering skillz, yo. Yes, that's my handwriting, and yes I did that freehand. I know the 1 has a tumor, it won't happen again.

I still have a TON of leftover uniform material, and the wife has asked me to make 2 more queen sized quilts out of the leftovers for her sons. Hopefully, I can get them all done in time for Christmas. The only one that's time critical for now though is this one.

I also got this quilt basted last night (I didn't make the top, a friend's requested that I quilt it for her). Not sure what I'm going to do for the quilting.

Isn't that adorable? I just love the colors. It's so fresh and summery, it makes me think of lemonade. Love love love.

Other projects in the pipeline are a wedding quilt:
This is going to take some creative engineering because some of the squares are bigger than others, and (worse) some are signed all the way to the edges. I'm excited to work on this one though, and honored they'd think of me to put it together for them.

I really need to be putting together *our* wedding shower quilt as well. It's in a box and I really just need to spend a good hour or two getting the pieces organized so I can just hammer out a block or two when I have 15 minutes to spare. Maybe I'll do that tonight.

Finally, the other pile o' fabric new in my sewing room as of this weekend is a stack of t shirts from a gymnastics camp my sister in law and her friend(s) went to for the majority of their lives. I guess one of their friends is getting married, so they want a quilt made out of all the shirts from all the summers. I'm thinking this might be my first QAYG quilt, but I'm going to have to try it out on a smaller scale first, to make sure I can do the block joining right.

Anyway, that's what's going on in the lab these days. :-) All or nothing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

Or: Why I haven't been quilting for a couple weeks. 

Anyone who reads Pedal Faster, don't bother...this is the same stuff as over there

It all started with an airport debacle that wasn't properly documented. We waited on this curb for probably 20 minutes while we were on the phone with our ride yelling "no WE're at the right terminal!" Turns out we were in the drop off only lane, and they were in the pick up only lane...which was across the airport and much less busy. Possibly because of a power-tripping crossing guard who made sure we knew we were not as important as the 300 or so cabs he let by first. Hmph. 

Eventually, we made it to camp. No pics of the ride because I slept through 90% of it. Actually, there are pictures of that. Aren't I precious?
Thanks for that, Devin.
Apparently, while I was sleeping the apocalypse happened. I might've been awake for this actually...there was some discussion of why we were driving directly into what looked like a tornado. No such luck. My vacations are so boring.
Finally, we made it to the North Rim campground and set up camp. I'm taking pictures to document the trip while Nick's working.
Devin thought the pay phones were quaint and hilarious.
Natch, we saw the edge of the canyon and walked towards it. Why wouldn't you?
It was seriously dizzying being that close to the edge.
Just a preview.
Hey look, I'm reasonably photogenic when you can't see my face full on! Nice!
Keeping it classy at camp, drinking a Fat Tire for my homies.
I was very worried for that sandwich's well-being.
Boys making fire. Sort of.
Hanging out at camp. 
All packed up and ready to roll.
The before shot, when we're all smiles.
First couple shot!
There was a lot of this.
We came down that! And we weren't even a third of the way down!
No perspective on this makes it look smaller than it was.
There, you see that black blob at the bottom? That's Devin, who's about 6 feet tall.
Being the slow kid, I wound up with a lot of "this will look epic in a montage" butt shots of the boys.
Devin was behind me some of the time.
Definitely not a tourist.
Made it to our first camp!
And Devin felt like 7 miles with 40 lbs on his back wasn't enough of a workout.
Then the apocalypse.
The water is colder than it looks, but it felt so gooood.
The park services had put big rocks (not these, other ones) in place to make a little swimming hole. It wasn't deep, but it was wet and cold so we jumped in and cooled off for a while. Wonderful.
Then we made like literate lizards and read by the pool.
Think of it as nature's ice bath.
There were a ton of these crazy caterpillars, and they kept dropping from trees onto our tent. It was weird.
And thus ends day 1.

Day 2 was supposed to be the "easy" day with a flat 7 miles. It was actually really nice...we got to camp in about 4 hours and were in the shade most of the time. 
Starting out the day right...with pasty legs and unflattering shorts. Yeewoozah.
Sunrise in the canyon is a dramatic event.
Nick, clearly a morning person. Is this owling?
Woah, river crossing!
There was a side hike (immediately after "Asinine Hill") to Ribbon Falls, which was spectacular.
The rock was hollow on the inside. I think it wasn't eroded so much as formed...bizarre.
From behind the falls.
Wider shot.
Artsy water shot (Devin's handiwork).
Candid couple shot, courtesy of Devin.
Foraging on the way back.
Action shot!
Closer to camp than we thought!
Happy couple!
Then suddenly...this. much for roughing it I guess. This is Phantom Ranch, where the slackers sit on their high horses down into the canyon and then dine in air conditioning and tell people they've been to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
It's rough being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but someone has to do it.
I feel like this needs to be made into a charicature.
Possibly this one too. Aren't I...special? Also, that orange thing is my poncho. We left all our food in ammo boxes (seriously) to go take a dip in the river and when I came back a squirrel had eaten THROUGH that poncho because it was sitting on the (sealed) box! Those canyon squirrels are no joke.
Oh look, there's one now!
Nick is unconcerned. Those white things are the boxes we had to use to keep critters out of our jerky. No joke, folks.
Seriously, the heat hit him the hardest I think.
Overlooking Willy Wonka's death river (aka, the Mighty Colorado).
This was pretty much the afternoon. It was 124 in the sun and 108 in the shade. And 75 in the river.
Seriously, it was hot. And at the bottom of the canyon we were still nearly 30 times higher than at home.
It was like a little hot tub, but the opposite.
Here's the view from our private pool.
At 8 o'clock, they let us lower class citizens into the fine dining hall, and we had ourselves a beer.
I tried to get in on the picture, but succeeded not so much. Best mule Tecate in history though. 
This kid and the faces he makes because he thinks I'll take fewer pictures...
Couple shadow!
Willy Wonka's river of death in the morning light. Still terrifying.
No big deal, just some epic scenery.
5 miles into the hike and we're at Indian Gardens. That thermometer read 70 when we got there and by the time we left it was above half an hour. Frightening.
That's the trail we hiked up!
This. Is not funny. With 40 lbs on our backs and over 5000 feet to climb, this might as well have read "you're going to die".
Preparing for the death march.
I bonked HARD mid climb, and couldn't keep my body temp in check. Nick was kind enough to get my goofy hat wet so I could keep my head a little cooler (and look more awesome, duh).
It was seriously gorgeous. We ended up resting every 10 feet or so because we were all bonking hard and getting really winded from the altitude change (seriously), which meant we got to enjoy the epicness of what we'd just done.
The clouds made for some really dramatic shadows.
There was a shocking amount of greenery on the trail. I just didn't expect that at all.
I mean really! Who'd want to grow here!
We did not avoid the mules at all. In fact, most of the way back up was covered in mule excrement.
The trail away from one of the water stops.
Seriously, who's sexier than me on a backpacking trip, huh? No one, that's who. Giselle, eat your heart out.
First "holy crap, we were just down there" moment.
Dev's good with a camera.
Almost there!
Seriously, it was practically paved on the last bit.
Shockingly, no hand rails.
Made it!!